random thoughts to oil the mind

Month: April 2008 Page 1 of 2

Pursuing the Fabled Maximum


Spotting the pink

The World Snooker Championship this year has certainly been entertaining. Newcomer Liang Wenbo’s marathon 13-12 victory over Joe Swail proved to be a tense finish after the youngster made a number of rash errors (deserved of his “Kamikaze Kid” nickname) to allow Joe Swail to creep back from 12-8. Should he win the competition he may vie with Stephen Hendry for the title of youngest player to win the title, though it seems unlikely that he will overcome his erratic and gung-ho moments in time. Hendry, however, certainly seems to have found some new form of late. He currently leads comfortably over Ryan Day in the quarter finals, and would face either Liang Wenbo or Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semis, currently level at 4 frames apiece. Nevertheless, yesterday O’Sullivan pulled out a maximum break to set the competition alight, his record ninth career maximum, and third at the Crucible.

In response, today saw maximum attempts from Stephen Hendry, ending at 112 after some tricky shots to keep the break going, Peter Ebdon, who missed the fifteenth black for a 113 break, and Ali Carter, whose first career maximum makes this the first time two have been scored in the same tournament. With six days still to go the potential is there for a third maximum in the tournament, which sponsors 888.com had originally offered odds of 200:1 – these have dwindled down to 7:4!

Mała anegdota

Kiedy byłem w Polsce pierwszy raz, mieszkałem z przyjaciółką w Olsztynie. Rano matka mojej przyjaciółki zapytała mnie, czy chciałbym kawę lub herbatę. Wtedy jeszcze prawie wcale nie rozumiałem po polsku, tylko piąte przez dziesiąte – “dziękuję”, “proszę”, “przepraszam”, “nie rozumiem” – ale dlatego, że jestem z Wielkiej Brytanii, oczywiście chciałem herbatę! Odpowiedziałem po prostu “proszę”, ale jak już napisałem, tylko trochę mówiłem po polsku, tak więc naprawdę powiedziałem “prosię”.

– “Czy chcesz kawę albo herbatę?”
– “Tak, prosię!”

Conversations with Stalin

Ranković, Tito and Đilas

Ranković, Tito and Đilas

It’s probably about time I got around to finally writing about some of the books that I read, a little in the vein of the 52-in-52 meme. This probably won’t start a trend, but Milovan Đilas’ Conversations with Stalin is full of sufficient tidbits to make it worth writing about, albeit unfortunately a little on the short side.

Đilas (pictured, right) was one of the key figures in the Yugoslavian Partisan movement during the Second World War, and maintained an influential position in the post-war government alongside Josip Broz Tito (centre), Aleksandar Ranković (on the left), and Edvard Kardelj. He started to write his memoirs in the mid-50s and decided to set his encounters with Stalin aside for separate treatment, but his outspoken criticism of the Yugoslav system resulted in his arrest and imprisonment in 1956. He restarted this work in 1961, which eventually brought about his re-internment.

Gołota Back on Form

Gołota suffered Mollo's right

Gołota suffered Mollo's right

Caught a replay of Andrzej Gołota’s title fight with Mike Mollo from back in January last night on Eurosport. The derby (both boxers Chicago residents) went the distance, with Gołota taking some punishment from Mollo’s right hand leaving him with an eye that always looked like it could cause the fight to end. Nevertheless, Mollo looked to have blown it towards the end, being twelve years Gołota’s junior his game plan clearly relied on the fight not going the distance. After 12 rounds Goota was awarded a unanimous decision, and the WBA Fedelatin heavyweight title, yet appears not to want to take this opportunity to retire. Indeed as Geoffrey Ciani reports, Gołota looks set for a match with Shannon Briggs, another aging veteran, though both with the potential for a crack at the title, something which has evaded the Polish emigré despite his technical abilities. Given the two boxers’ varied styles, perhaps another hare versus tortoise race awaits in the near future.

Krystyna Janda in Dublin

Krystyna Janda

On Saturday I went to a meeting with Krystyna Janda presented by The National Creativity Centre Foundation, in the National Gallery in Dublin. The meeting principally took the form of a questions and answers session, conducted by the famous Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi, ahead of the Irish première of Krystyna Janda’s monologue adaptation of Vedrana Rudan’s Ear, Throat, Knife.

Whilst the interview was pretty interesting, given Janda’s extremely busy and varied career, the translating at the event was a little under par. The predominance of Polish speakers in the audience meant that the poor translator didn’t always get a say until after a few questions had been asked or answered, and her pretty difficult task of translating her own shorthand wasn’t helped by Mr Zanussi interrupting occasionally to demonstrate his own knowledge of English, and I was frankly embarrassed for the poor translator. Most questions focused dealt with Janda’s career in acting, both on stage and on the silver screen, from her early roles in films such as Andrzej Wajda’s Człowiek z marmuru (Man of Marble) or working alongside Klaus Maria Brandauer in Mephisto, to her more recent work with the Polonia Theatre in Warsaw. Many of the audience’s questions focused on her family life, work in politics and music, and just where she finds the energy to keep it all going. Not sure if she answered that sufficiently, but she did suggest that there would be more going on in her blog in the future.

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